Bestiary: Being an English Version of the Bodleian Library, Oxford M.S. Bodley 764 : with All the Original Miniatures Reproduced in Facsimile

Front Cover
Boydell Press, 1999 - History - 205 pages
Bestiaries are a particularly characteristic product of medieval England, and give a unique insight into the medieval mind. Richly illuminated and lavishly produced, they were luxury objects for noble families. Their three-fold purpose was to provide a natural history of birds, beasts and fishes, to draw moral examples from animal behaviour (the industrious bee, the stubborn ass), and to reveal a mystical meaning - the phoenix, for instance, as a symbol of Christ's resurrection. This Bestiary, MS Bodley 764, was produced around the middle of the thirteenth century and is of singular beauty and interest. The lively illustrations have the freedom and naturalistic quality of the later Gothic style, and make dazzling use of colour. This book reproduces the 136 illuminations to the same size and in the same place as the original manuscript, fitting the text around them. Richard Barber's translation from the original Latin is a delight to read, capturing both the serious intent of the manuscript and its charm. RICHARD BARBER has written many books on the history of and life in the middle ages, from his Somerset Maugham Award-winning The Knight and Chivalry, by way of biographies of Henry II and the Black Prince, to an anthology of Arthurian literature from England, France and Germany, Arthurian Legends, and an account of the historical Arthur, King Arthur: Hero and Legend. His latest book is Myths and Legends of the British Isles, retellings of the foundation myths of Britain.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - the1butterfly - LibraryThing

Yeah! That is all I can say at my absolute delight over the fact that this exists. The stories about each animal are fascinating, but the illustrations are actually the reason I bought this. I wanted ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - lilithcat - LibraryThing

Published from a 13th-Century manuscript by the Folio Society, which can always be counted on for books that are physically beautiful as well as interesting. An introduction discusses some of the history of bestiaries and touches on difficulties faced by the translator. Read full review

Contents

CONTENTS Introduction 7 Further reading
16
Lion 21 Lioness 26 Tiger 28 Panther
30
Antelope
33
Lynx
38
Elephant
39
Beaver
43
Hyena
45
Bonnacon
47
Halcyon
140
Phoenix
141
Cinnomolgus
144
Harz bird 145 Hoopoe
145
Nightowl
147
Screechowl
148
Sirens
150
Magpie
153

Ape
48
Satyr
50
Tragelaphus 53 Goat 54 Wild goat
56
Bear 58 Leucrota 60 Crocodile
61
Parander
64
Fox
65
Hare
66
Eale 68 Wolf 69 Dog 71 Sheep
77
Wether
79
Kid 81 Hegoat
82
Boar 86 Bullock 88 Ox 89 Buffalo
90
Calf 93 Camel 94 Ass 97 Wild ass
99
Horse 101 Mule 105 Badger
108
Cat
109
Weasel
110
Hedgehog 112 Ant 114 Frog
116
Eagle 118 Barnacle 120 Osprey
122
Coot 125 Vulture 125 Crane
127
Charadrius 130 Stork 131 Heron
132
Swan
134
Ibis
136
Ostrich
137
Coot
138
Sparrowhawk
154
Hawk
155
Bat
157
Raven 159 Crow 160 Dove
161
Turtledove
163
Swallow
164
Quail
167
Goose
168
Peacock
170
Hoopoe
171
Cock
172
Hen
174
Kite 176 Bee 177 Perindens
180
Dragon 182 Basilisk 184 Viper
186
Scitalis 189 Amphisbaena 189 Idrus
190
Boas
192
Lizard 193 Salamander 193 Saura
194
Scorpion
197
Horned Serpent
198
Worm
199
Whale
203
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About the author (1999)

Richard Barber has published widely on medieval history. The Knight and Chivalry won the 1971 Somerset Maugham Award. His other major interest is historical biography with books on Henry Plantagenet and the Black Prince.

Bibliographic information